Hegra and AlUla: Rebirth of Arabia’s ancient crossroads

Hegra and AlUla: Rebirth of Arabia’s ancient crossroads
A view of the ruins of the ancient city of AlUla and the new city that stands adjacent to it. (Supplied photo)
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Updated 19 December 2019

Hegra and AlUla: Rebirth of Arabia’s ancient crossroads

Hegra and AlUla: Rebirth of Arabia’s ancient crossroads
  • KSA's Winter at Tantora festival will last over 12 weekends, drawing the world to AlUla from Dec. 19, 2019, to March 7, 2020
  • The archaeological sites of Hegra, the ancient Nabataean city in Saudi Arabia's northwest, will be opened to the public next year

RIYADH: Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s northwestern AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world.

Few have been privileged to visit Hegra, hewn from the rocks of the Hijaz in northwestern Saudi Arabia two millennia ago and lost for centuries.


 

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

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Now, in a stunning digital interactive exploration ‘The Rebirth of AlUla’, the Arab News is unveiling the spectacular rock-cut tombs of Hegra, and highlights efforts to transform the wider AlUla region into one of the world’s greatest cultural tourism destinations.

In 2020, the archaeological sites of Hegra will be reopened to the public, which had its first glimpse in many years through the 2018 Winter at Tantora festival. The celebration of art, music and heritage will draw the world once again to AlUla from Dec. 19 to March 7. Over 12 weekends of festivities, visitors will be treated to an eclectic mix of performers, including the Gipsy Kings, Lionel Richie, Enrique Iglesias, Craig David and Jamiroquai.

Saudi Arabia’s move to open up Hegra and the AlUla Valley restores a missing chapter in the history of the region and the entire world.

Ahead of the grand ceremony, the Arab News interactive ‘The Rebirth of AlUla’  - arabnews.com/alula – dives deep into its history, blending compelling storytelling and journalism, with stunning video footage, beautiful photography, animated graphics and rare footage and interviews. 




AlUla is full of archaeological treasures from the Dadanite, Nabataean, Roman and Islamic civilizations, nestled among beautiful desert landscapes. (Supplied )

Mada’in Salih was the post- Islamic name for Hegra, a lost city in the AlUla Valley. Like its famous twin Petra in Jordan, Hegra was built by the Nabataeans, who from about the fourth century BC to 106 AD controlled the profitable trade routes that crossed the Arabian Peninsula from east to west and north to south.

AlUla is full of archaeological treasures from the Dadanite, Nabataean, Roman and Islamic civilizations, nestled among beautiful desert landscapes. 




Nabatean-era tombs carved on limestone formations are a common feature in AlUla. (Supplied)

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, under its Secretary-General Prince Sultan bin Salman, nominated Hegra for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007. The application was accepted, and Hegra became the first World Heritage property to be inscribed in the Kingdom.

‘The Rebirth of AlUla’ also throws light on the work of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU), established in 2017, is working in partnership with the French Agency for AlUla Development (Afalula), on “the transformation of the AlUla region into a worldwide cultural and touristic destination.”

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

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Decoder

Hegra

Hegra was a lost city in the AlUla Valley of northwestern Saudi Arabia, which became known as Mada’in Salih. Like its famous twin Petra in Jordan, Hegra was built by the Nabataeans, who from about the fourth century BC to 106 AD controlled the profitable trade routes that crossed the Arabian Peninsula from east to west and north to south.


Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details. (shutterstock)
Updated 18 January 2021

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
  • The Saudi Central Bank has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers

JEDDAH: Fraudsters have developed a new scam, contacting residents in Saudi Arabia and pretending to be bank staffers requesting customer details.
A number of Arab News staff have received such calls in recent weeks. One caller spoke Urdu while two other callers posing as senior officials from the headquarters of the bank spoke in English and Arabic with a local accent.
They used phone numbers that appeared to be local numbers but upon calling back, the lines failed to connect.
The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.
Speaking to Arab News, Talat Zaki Hafiz, secretary-general of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi banks, said: “Saudi banks represented by the Media and Banking Awareness Committee have repeatedly warned bank customers not to react to stray phone calls of any kind coming from unknown sources that ask to update their banking record or personal information.” He further confirmed that banks do not request such information through phone calls or SMS messages.
Mohammed Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at the King Saud University in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Phishing, an online scam which targets users through emails where individuals are encouraged to click on a link that takes them to fraudulent sites, was troubling people. Now it’s a different kind of scam known as ‘vishing,’ over-the-phone phishing, where scammers persuade users to share their banking information by impersonating a bank official.”

HIGHLIGHT

The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.

Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details.
Sharing his experience Zafar Hasan, an e-learning consultant in Riyadh, said: “I received a call from someone on an unknown mobile number who introduced himself as a bank employee and told me that my ATM card was going to be blocked. It required an immediate update so I should give my Iqama number (residence permit number) and sixteen-digit ATM card number. I felt something was fishy, so I told him that I would go personally to the bank to update the card.”
The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers.
SAMA called on bank customers to take information only from the official channels of the bodies regulating the Kingdom’s financial and investment sectors and inform the competent security authorities about such fraudulent attempts.